European Union member states tend to be very conservative when it comes to cannabis legalization. With a few exceptions, most member states prohibit cannabis altogether. Other countries decriminalize cannabis and a handful have adopted modest medical marijuana programs. Germany, the EU’s biggest economy and arguably most influential nation, has been on the path towards recreational cannabis legalization for a few years now. And yesterday, it finally let loose with how it intends to regulate cannabis.
The German government
A few things bear mentioning before jumping into Germany’s legalization plan. As someone who speaks German and has spent a lot of time in Germany, I can say that the German government is both highly regulated and rolls out new programs in a slow, conservative manner. You might be able to figure that out if you’ve followed German’s cannabis legalization efforts, which have been ongoing for a few years.
Additionally, Germany has a federal parliamentary system where a number of smaller parties team up to form governing coalitions. Until relatively recently, the leading coalition in the Bundestag (parliament) was between the SPD (social democrats) and CDU/CSU (conservatives, but more towards the center than U.S. republicans). Without getting into German politics, that coalition